(2015-10-17) It is all systems go for the 29th commemoration of the death of Mozambican President Samora Machel in 1986. Government officials from both Mozambique and South Africa are expected to arrive at Mbuzini in the Lebombo Mountains where the plane carrying Machel and several other officials crashed 29 years ago.
On 19 October 1986, the Mozambican President was returning from a meeting in Zambia. The plane he was travelling in crashed in Mbuzini killing him and 34 others on board.
The small village of Mbuzini located on the border of South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique, gained prominence because of this incident that shocked the world.
A monument was built at the crash site and officially opened by former President Nelson Mandela in 1999.
In 2009, the monument was upgraded to a museum. The central feature of the Monument is 35 tubular steel pipes, symbolizing the number of people who lost their lives in the crash that emit a wailing sound in the wind.
The Museum contains their details, pictures, luggage, remains of the aircraft, and a message of condolences that was written by former Nelson Mandela to Graca Machel, while in prison.
The site attracts numbers of tourists. Local resident Sizwe Nkala says Mbuzini is gradually developing.
“Through Samora Machel, our area has been seen by many great people including presidents. We have the museum and local people are working there, we have got the Samora Machel combined school, and now we have roads. We know in Mbuzini that if our local leaders are not doing well, senior leaders will come and advise them.”
Dignitaries from South Africa and Mozambique are expected to lay wreaths at the monument
During the museum’s official handover, a community library was also opened. Thembelihle Mahlalela, who is also a resident in the area, says the museum needs to be developed to contribute meaningfully to the community.
Mahlalela feels the area needs a shopping complex.
“Now only a few people are employed at the Museum. If there were more shops, more people would be employed, because Mbuzini is very far from the shopping complex.”
Dignitaries from South Africa and Mozambique are expected to lay wreaths at the monument during the commemoration.
“The MEC for the Department of Sports, Art and Culture will be joined by the governor of Mozambique, and other officials. They will tour the museum and also share words of strengthening relations amongst the two countries in a way of giving respect to the late President Samora Machel,” says Mumalanga spokesperson for the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, Sibongile Nkosi.
The Samora Machel Museum is expected to be declared a national heritage site next year during the 30th commemoration of the Mozambican President’s death.
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